Briefing: Pinduoduo launches medicine channel, tapping pharmaceutical e-commerce market

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拼多多试水医药电商 上线“医药健康馆”-SinaTech

What happened: Chinese social e-commerce giant Pinduoduo has launched a health channel to sell medication on the platform. The channel now sells products under three categories: birth control, Chinese traditional medicine, and contact lenses. Local media also pointed out the company is actively recruiting for the business.

Why it’s important: Despite the huge market demand, Pinduoduo’s expansion into the online pharmaceutical sector is subject to several uncertainties. Different from the “one size fits all” approach that finds popularity among daily groceries and garments, medication needs more personalized service. So it might not be a perfect fit for Pinduoduo’s group-purchasing model. Chinese netizens expressed concern over purchasing medicine from Pinduoduo, which has got a controversial reputation for selling fake goods. What’s more, pharmaceutical e-commerce is already a crowded market where incumbents like Alibaba and JD have laid out in the sector for several years.